No-one to blame, says soldier's father

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 09/08/2014
Sam Scott
MISSED: Sam Scott

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The father of the Linton soldier who died from injuries suffered in a rugby league match says no-one is to blame for his son's death.

Feilding's Andrew Scott said that his son Lieutenant Sam Scott died from the effects of a head injury while playing a rugby league game between army units at Linton Military Camp last Friday and it was just "one of those things".

Scott died in Wellington Hospital at 11.15am on Wednesday.

"A terrible accident," said Andrew Scott, one of New Zealand's foremost equestrian coaches.

"It was just a game. We want to celebrate his 21 years of endeavour and success."

His father understands the accident happened while the soldiers were playing in a fun game to keep their fitness up.

"It was a front-on tackle; he was the tackler.

"He was going low and the guy was trying to bump him off."

A trauma specialist from the army hospital, 200 metres away, responded quickly to the accident.

Scott was whisked to Palmerston North Hospital, from where mother Louise accompanied him in the air ambulance to the Wellington intensive care unit.

His father stressed it was no indictment on the sport or the army, who he said had done everything they could at the scene. The army had allowed Scott's mates to be with him in hospital and had a friend with him the whole time.

Scott had told his father recently he never had any regrets about being part of the military.

"He absolutely loved the army and was destined to go high places.

"We're extremely proud of him and he was such a level-headed bloke."

He had not long returned from working in the Middle East in time for his 21st birthday dinner and was in his fourth year in the army.

Andrew Scott hopes the family's run of bad luck has finished with this third accident.

In October 2012, his wife Louise Scott had a heavy fall from a horse while working out at their home property at Feilding. Sam Scott was there and tended to his mother that day.

"He was absolutely amazing, kept everybody calm and did first aid on his mother.

"Louise called him ‘her rock'."

Last year, younger son Liam Scott, who now plays for the Feilding High School 1st XV, contracted blood poisoning and spent two weeks in the Palmerston North Hospital intensive care unit.

"It was a resistant strain and it was touch and go for some time," Andrew Scott said.

While in Melbourne training in signals with the army last year Sam Scott received a commendation from the Victorian Police.

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He was coming home on the train one night after being out partying and saw a man harassing a woman, and then pull out a knife. While everyone else was running away, Scott rushed into action.

"The police said he went in and disarmed the guy and when they got there the guy was crying on his shoulder telling him his life story.

"Sam took the girl home and then he went back to the barracks."

Scott will have a full military funeral at Linton at 2pm on Monday where the eulogy will be delivered by family friend, Governor-General and former chief of defence staff Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Scott and Mateparae's son, also Sam, were friends at College House at Palmerston North Boys' High School.

"We're extremely proud of him," said his father.

"He was such a level-headed bloke and his ability to sum up a situation was unbelievable."

Scott is also to posthumously receive an army service medal.

- Manawatu Standard

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